EU Launches New Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre

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Natural disasters have caused over 80,000 deaths and €100 billion in economic losses in the EU since 2002.

As a response to increased risks posed by natural disasters such as floods, the European Commission last month launched a new in-house Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre.

The centre will help EU Member States respond to such emergencies, and prevent and reduce the impact of disasters.

Disaster Risk Management Research

The Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (DRMKC) will offer EU countries technical and scientific advice on their risk assessment methodologies.

To facilitate the use of research, for example, the centre will consolidate scientific networks on related disaster risk management matters and develop an online repository of relevant research results and operational outcomes.

The centre will also create a network of crisis management laboratories and test beds for conducting experiments and benchmarking exercises on crisis management technologies. The European Commission says:

“Under the umbrella of the Knowledge Centre, networks of scientists and policy-makers will analyse gaps, challenges and recent developments to produce periodic reports on the state of science and technology in disaster risk management”.

“Increasing resilience to crises and disasters requires the continued development of innovative technologies, tools and methods. These range from models to early warning systems, from new materials for resilient constructions to methods for loss data accounting. Capitalising on the vast amount of existing knowledge and improving the use and accessibility of research results for operational activities is another a big challenge for policy-makers and risk managers”.

European Commission services responsible for humanitarian aid and civil protection, research and innovation, migration and home affairs, and the Joint Research Centre will contribute to the Knowledge Centre, together with a network of interested EU Member States.

Disaster Risk Management Seminar

The DRMKC’s first seminar will be held from 24 and 25 November 2015 in Central Hall Westminster, London, UK.

The seminar will address important aspects of Disaster Risk Management including risk assessments, early warning, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Registration is available online here.

Over 100 experts from private and public organisations from the EU and international organisations are expected to participate in plenary and break-out sessions, with ample time for debate in round table discussions.

A break-out group to discuss the issue of floods is scheduled for Wednesday 25 November.


Supporting UN’s Sendai Framework

The Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre (DRMKC) will support the United Nations Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction by promoting a more systematic and reinforced science to policy interface. This will also help achieve a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. At a European level, the Centre will contribute to the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) legislation, which puts emphasis on the need to improve the knowledge base on disaster risks and facilitate the sharing of knowledge, best practices and information.

The main website of the Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre can be found here.

Floods Genoa
Cars floating along the flooded streets of Genoa in 2011. Photo: Oggi Scienza / Flickr